A lady who read our blog commented that when she was widowed, her church did not minister to her. And no, she said, "I did not seek counsel from my pastor. I sought help from the Bible and the Lord alone."
I'm thinking she was saying that somewhat pridefully. I may be reading it wrong.
I replied, "God never intended for you and me to handle life's burdens 'from the Bible and the Lord alone.' That's why He put us in a church when He saved us."
We have to give the pastors and leaders a chance to help us. We should let them know we are in a crisis. Then, it's their responsibility to respond appropriately. But if they do not know, they will do nothing and you will suffer needlessly.
I repeat: The Lord intends for us to help each other handle these critical passages in life. He does not intend for us to live our lives in isolation, just reading our Bible and trying to get sustenance from the Lord. He gives help through His people as well as by the Holy Spirit. And often, it's through His people that the Holy Spirit ministers best.
"Love one another." "Comfort one another." "Encourage one another."
Have you read that in Scripture? It's all through the New Testament.
It was put there for a purpose. These are admonitions/instructions for God's people to take care of each other.
Dan Crawford and Al Meredith searched the New Testament and came up with 31 "one anothers" for God's people. They wrote a chapter on each in their little volume One Anothering, which is available from any online source. What are the 31 one-anothers?
- Pray for one another (James 5:16).
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50).
- Wash one another's feet (John 13:14).
- Love one another (John 13:34-35; John 15:12, 17; Rom. 13:8; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:11-12, 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 5).
- Be members of one another (Rom. 12:5).
- Be devoted to one another (Rom. 12:10).
- Honor one another (Rom.12:10).
- Let us not judge one another (Rom. 14:13).
- Be of the same mind toward one another (Rom. 15:5).
- Receive one another (Rom. 15:7).
- Admonish one another (Rom. 15:14).
- Greet one another (Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 1 Pet. 5:14).
- Wait for one another (1 Cor. 11:33).
- Care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25).
- Serve one another (Gal. 5:13).
- Do not bite and devour lest you consume one another (Gal. 5:15).
- Do not provoke one another (Gal. 5:26).
- Do not envy one another (Gal. 5:26).
- Bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2).
- Bear with one another (Eph. 4:2, Col. 3:13).
- Be kind to one another (Eph. 4:32).
- Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21, 1 Pet. 5:5).
- Do not lie to one another (Col. 3:9).
- Comfort one another (1 Thess. 4:18).
- Edify one another (1 Thess. 5:11).
- Consider one another (Heb. 10:24).
- Do not speak evil of one another (James 4:11).
- Do not grumble against one another (James 5:9).
- Confess to one another (James 5:16).
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Pet. 4:9).
- Fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).
That's the plan, for God's people to hold on to one another, ministering and helping and encouraging and, if necessary, rebuking.
No church gets it right all the time. So, no one should use the list of 31 to grade their church. Rather, let us use it as a blueprint to make the congregation of which we are one member stronger, more faithful and more loving.
All of that will honor our Lord.
Joe McKeever is retired from the pastorate but still active in preaching, writing and cartooning for Christian publications. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.
For the original article, visit joemckeever.com.
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